Background. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of unknown aetiology characterized by alternating periods of remission and relapses. The difficulties in the patients with ulcerative colitis daily life mostly arise from symptoms associated with bowel inflammation but there are many patients who have difficulties despite being in the remission phase. This study was conducted to elucidate factors that influence perception of difficulties of life and psychological well being of patients with ulcerative colitis in remission.
Methods. A questionnaire survey was carried out in 72 outpatients with ulcerative colitis in remission. The perception of difficulties of life was assessed using the scale developed by Tanaka et al. Psychological well being was assessed using the Japanese version of the ‘profile of mood states’. Physical condition, demographic attributes and psychosociological states were also investigated as related factors.
Results. There was no outstanding aspect of psychological well being, but a relatively large number of patients perceived a ‘decline of vitality or vigour’ despite being in the remission phase. In the presence of irritable bowel syndrome-like symptoms, the scores for ‘difficulties of life in society’ or ‘difficulties concerned with bowel movements’ were high. Scores for ‘decline of vitality or vigour’ were high when the emotive coping scores were high, social support was lower, disease durations were short and relapses occurred more than once. When the emotive coping scores were high, psychological well being was not fine.
Relevance to clinical practice. Strategies need to be developed to allow patients to recover and maintain their strength in the remission phase. Further, the strategies should take the above factors into consideration.